Flying Man

From There To here, hammered dulcimer player Mathew Abelson's second CD is a treat for the ears. Like his debut, The Flying Dulcimer, From Here To There is comprised of a wide range of musical styles popular to the dulcimer, such as Irish jigs and reels, bluegrass and Renaissance numbers. There's a nice cozy feel to this CD. The bluegrass and Irish jig tunes jam out hard, and the slower, more elegant songs, like the traditional English "Greensleeves," really give the listener an opportunity to hear the grace of Abelson's touch. Abelson and supporting cast, including guitarists Flynn Cohen and Tim Wallace, Ron Butler on bass, Brendan Carr on the bodhran and Janice Fields in the violin and viola, are incredible tight-rolling together to make the music seem as if it's flying. But it's Abelson's solo tunes that show off his light, quick and beautiful playing, including two originals, "Midnight Dreams" and "The Rain Within," both stand-outs.

Abelson, who comes from a musical family, was introduced to the hammered dulcimer as a child when his father built one for his brother, although Abelson ended up starting his musical life on the piano. Later while attending Oberlin College, he was turned on to the instrument when he saw someone playing the dulcimer in his dorm. "I loved watching his hands dance over the strings," he recalls. Unable to find a teacher, Abelson subsequently taught himself to play the instrument, starting with traditional dulcimer tunes.

Seven years later, Abelson wants to create new music for the instrument and do for the hammered dulcimer what Bela Fleck has done for the banjo. "I want to take the instrument where it hasn't been taken before." With this second release, Abelson shows that his commitment and playing are no joke. He can always be found playing out in Cleveland practically everywhere and now has no "day Job", rather making his living playing wedding, parties, church services, private lessons, plus concerts at coffeehouses, bookstores, and festivals. Fueled by his success, he believes that his time has come to make it in music. "I don't want to sit around and watch time go by and say I could have made it if I had tried harder." And since he is out so much, it would be wise to check out this young performer as he continues to grow right in our own backyard. Live Abelson excels.  Music dances off the strings before your eyes.  -Robert Mihalek

The Cleveland Free Times
Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 1997
Local Spotlight
Review- Page 35


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